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This funding call is closed. We received over 450 applications which have been reviewed. Applicants have been informed the outcomes and we will be announcing these shortly via our newsletter and on our website.

Elrha is launching an urgent funding call for research proposals to support the COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings.

The call aims to fund public health research that will produce robust findings that will contribute to the effectiveness of the current humanitarian response and increase the evidence base for future responses to similar infectious disease outbreaks.

Key information

This Call focuses on identified priorities related to the current COVID-19 outbreak in humanitarian settings* in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Proposals will be eligible for research that targets:

  • Refugees or IDPs in camps or urban humanitarian settings, or conflict-affected people in humanitarian settings in LMICs
  • Health systems and health care workers supporting the COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings in LMICs.

* For this Call, humanitarian settings do not include low-income populations in low/middle income countries. For example, research with urban slum populations or amongst non-refugee/IDP populations in countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, India, Kenya, Liberia etc will not be eligible. Your research must focus on humanitarian populations, for example in refugee camps or in conflict-affected countries (eg in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia etc).


Proposals addressing any of the below topics will be eligible (see the full Call Guidelines  below for further detail):

  • Innovative solutions
  • Supporting existing health care delivery
  • Predicting outbreaks
  • Social science behavioural research
  • Co-ordination and sharing

Proposals must demonstrate how findings will directly inform the response to the current COVID-19 outbreak in humanitarian settings.

Applications will be reviewed in rounds with deadlines as follows:

  • Round 1: 18.00 (GMT+1) on 13 April 2020
  • Round 2: 18.00 (GMT+1) on 20 April 2020
  • Round 3: 18.00 (GMT+1) on 4 May 2020

Rapid research that will generate evidence to directly support the humanitarian response is a critical contribution.

What are the timelines?

We aim to fund rapid research which will directly inform the response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Research teams will need to be able to start research activities as soon as possible so the findings inform the current response.

Who should apply?

Applicants can be based in any country in the world and must apply as part of an established organisation. The research team should include academic and humanitarian partners, as appropriate. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their proposed research is relevant, feasible and ethical. Applicants must be willing to accept the Elrha Grant Agreement without negotiation, to enable rapid contracting.

What are the timelines for a funding decision?

We will operate a rolling application window which will be close on 4 May 2020. Within the application window, research proposals will be reviewed in rounds. There will be three application rounds - the first of which will be 18.00 (GMT+1) on 13 April 2020. We aim to provide a funding decision within two weeks of each round deadline.

The full Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be found below in English and French.

Ready to apply?

Click here to start your application.


How do I apply?

All applications must be submitted via our online application system where you must register or log in. You will then be able to access the application documents and accompanying Application Instructions.

When will I know if my application was successful?

We recognise the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in different countries. We therefore intend to have a rolling application window which will be open for a minimum of five weeks from the launch, closing on 4 May 2020. The call may be extended if necessary.

Applications will be reviewed in rounds during this period. The following deadlines for applications to be submitted to each round are:
• Round 1: 18.00 (GMT+1), 13 April 2020
• Round 2: 18.00 (GMT+1), 20 April 2020
• Round 3: 18.00 (GMT+1), 4 May 2020

We aim to provide a funding decision to applicants within two weeks of the round deadline. For example, we aim to inform applicants to Round 1 of a funding decision on 27 April.

What are the partnership requirements for applicants to this call?

Applications must demonstrate inclusion of appropriate research partners to ensure the feasibility of conducting research and ensuring rapid utilisation of findings to inform the response. Study teams must include research expertise required to deliver high quality and rigorous research findings: inclusion in the study team of an academic from a research institution (national and/or international) is strongly encouraged. Applications which propose to undertake primary data collection within a humanitarian setting in a LMIC must demonstrate inclusion of a local humanitarian operational partner to ensure relevance of research question and access to study location.

What funds are available for my research study?

Our priority is to fund rapid research which will directly inform the response to COVID-19 in humanitarian settings in LMICs. We anticipate that a majority of proposals will be for short-term research conducted over the next few months. However, funding can be provided for research which takes place over an extended period if applicants can justify the value of this research to inform responses to the COVID-19 outbreak.  We expect the majority of applications will have budgets which reflect the rapid nature of research which will be conducted over a short time period. However, we recognise that some studies might require more significant funding to undertake research over an extended period.

The size and number of grants to be awarded will depend on the quality of proposals received that are within the scope of the call. There will be no ceiling to the budgets. Value for money will be one of the criteria for grant approval.

What if I have further questions?

If you have a question, please look at the Frequently Asked Questions document. If your question is not answered here, you can contact the R2HC programme (


If you missed our webinar on 2 April, you can watch it below or view the slides here.

Play video

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